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State of the Jets - Training Camp Preview
John Tuvey
July 29, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
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Training Camp Opens: July 27 (Rookie), July 30 (Veteran)
Head Coach: Rex Ryan (1st year)
Stadium: Giants Stadium  Surface: FieldTurf
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 9-7

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 37 119 0 485 313 65% 3352 10.7 17 16 19 23
2007 47 143 2 510 309 61% 3294 10.7 15 19 25 26
2008 24 40 1 527 346 66% 3498 10.1 22 23 16 10

Quarterback - Free of the Brett Favre circus, the Jets will turn to either backup Kellen Clemens or rookie Mark Sanchez. Rex Ryan was up close and personal last year when a team rode a rookie quarterback, a powerful running game, and an aggressive defense to the AFC Championship game so he wouldn’t hesitate to hand the reins to Sanchez. This battle will play itself out during training camp, but you have to believe a $50 million contract tilts the scales at least a little bit in Sanchez’s favor.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 426 1448 3.4 15 75 55 73% 422 0 25 27 7
2007 381 1472 3.9 4 86 64 74% 430 1 24 29 32
2008 381 1833 4.8 19 112 86 77% 571 4 8 11 5

Running Backs - Between Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, the Jets produced a top-10 ground game last year. Now both backs want new contracts—so as insurance, and because Jones is on the wrong side of 30 for a running back, the Jets traded up to draft Shonn Greene. Much of the ground game’s success is due to the offensive line, so whomever Gang Green lines up is bound to put up decent numbers. It sounds as if Washington is close to a new deal, while the Jets have little interest in reworking Jones’ contract. Since Greene is more of a Jones type than a Washington type, Ryan would likely be willing to move forward with a Greene/Washington tandem. This particular training camp battle may play out more in the business office than on the field.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 358 221 62% 2579 11.7 13 10 16
2007 341 195 57% 2423 12.4 10 16 23
2008 293 186 63% 2164 11.6 15 16 12

Wide Receivers - Laveranues Coles is gone, leaving Jerricho Cotchery as the Jets’ No. 1 receiver. David Clowney and Chansi Stuckey will compete for the other starting gig, and Brad Smith is bound to find some playing time as a receiver or in Wildcat formations. Even with fewer question marks at both quarterback and wideout the Jets have been largely mediocre when it comes to fantasy production at the position. While Clowney or Stuckey could emerge as a sleeper candidate, if the comparison for this team is Baltimore then you’re talking about Mark Clayton or Demetrius Williams numbers—neither of which is very compelling. 

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 55 37 67% 344 9.3 4 27 22
2007 76 50 66% 480 9.6 4 26 26
2008 120 75 63% 776 10.3 3 14 18

Tight Ends
- Dustin Keller has flashed the downfield ability that made him a first-round pick last season. Moreover, young and/or inexperienced quarterbacks—which is what the Jets will field this season—love to rely on their tight ends as easy checkdowns and safety valves. Keller isn’t a blocker, so he’ll either need to improve in that facet or make the most of his time in the slot to be a fantasy helper. The other options on the Jets roster—headlined by Richard Owens, who was out of football last season—aren’t even registering on the fantasy radar.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - Ryan hasn’t backed down from anyone in the AFC East, and he was on board when a team with a very similar makeup played for the conference title last year. With Ryan’s pedigree and offseason moves like Bart Scott’s signing, the defense will get most of the attention. But the offense can’t be ignored. Ryan will need to settle on a quarterback, but more importantly the Jets will need to figure out their backfield situation—who’s signed, who’s holding out, and who’s ready to play some football.

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